Today was my first day of class at Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Since so many readers have written me asking about IIN, I figured I’d give you a little recap of my experience!
I just have to start by saying that it was absolutely amazing. The energy there is so high-vibe, and I knew immediately that I was in the right place. Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of IIN, says he wants the IIN education to be “like a rock concert – everyone leaves feeling electrified.” It was! The whole experience is already life-changing and I’ve only gone for one day.
We’ll start with the basics. What’s the mission of IIN?
In America, something very important is missing from our food, diet and nutrition information. Despite the plethora of diets and nutrition information out there, almost 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. More people than ever are on anti-depressants, and type 2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic even among young children. People are unhealthy, unhappy and downright confused about what they should be putting into their bodies. Many people don’t realize that food related disease is the #1 cause of preventable death in the world! From headaches to insomnia to diabetes to cancer to depression – what we eat affects it all.
The scary part is that the American way is spreading to other countries. American fast-food joints are popping up all over the world, and civilizations who once thrived on a traditional plant-based diet are now becoming unhealthier and suffering from serious health conditions.
The even scarier part is that much of the nutrition information that Americans have been given throughout their lives is biased, funded by the meat/dairy/sugar industries, based on bogus research, or designed to take your money and make you sicker (therefore keeping the pharmaceutical industry alive). We need to unlearn most of what we’ve always thought was true about how to take care of ourselves. We need to take back the power to make our own choices about what we put into our bodies. Its a serious, life-threatening issue! I know that was probably a lot to digest (no pun intended), but I’m just super fired up about it!
So what is IIN doing to help fix this growing problem?
IIN Mission: To play a crucial role in improving health and happiness in America, and create a ripple effect that transforms the world.
The goal is to train students to become Holistic Health Coaches who will go out into the world spreading health, happiness and knowledge about true nutrition – and not only about how the food we eat affects our health, but about how our relationships, career, spirituality and physical activity affect our health as well. Luckily, as Joshua mentioned today, IIN students have “a highly unusual fascination with personal growth and development,” (yup) and I know we are all just buzzing with the potential of helping to heal the world.
Check out this CNN clip about how health coaches are going to play an important role in our country’s health care.
So what did I learn today? Joshua Rosenthal taught the first half of the class and I learned a LOT. Without going into too much detail….
-I learned about how different foods affect different people, how there isn’t one perfect diet, and how certain foods strengthen one person but weaken another.
-I learned about cravings, their causes, and how our bodies are truly brilliant, efficient machines that want to be in balance.
-I learned about what foods are important to add into your diet in order to crowd out the unhealthy foods (more fruits, veggies, whole grains, the appropriate proteins, water, rest).
-I learned about the history of the USDA food pyramids, the way profit, lobbying and big business play into the recommendations, and received a new and improved food pyramid from IIN that actually makes sense.
-I learned that the most popular veggies in the US are french fries, ketchup and potato chips (I believe this is followed by iceberg lettuce). Doesn’t that make you want to cry?
-I learned that people who consume little to no dairy actually have the lowest risk of osteoporosis. Got milk?
-I learned that only 5% of the US population exercises daily.
We were also taught today by Walter Willet – Head of Nutrition at Harvard and author of “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy.”
-I learned that “low fat” versions of foods should never be included in your diet. Most of these products just replace the fat (which is often healthy, necessary fat from oils) with carbohydrates (sugar). Fail.
-I learned about the trans fat disaster and how the banning of trans fats worldwide will save millions of lives.
-I learned that being overweight/obese causes as much cancer as smoking.
-I learned that Type 2 Diabetes is caused by eating high glycemic food.
So that’s just a small sprinkling of the things I’ll be able to coach people about in detail when I’ve completed my training. It’s truly incredible information and I can’t wait to share more.
By the way, I had lunch with my personal health coach (every student gets one) at Blossom on the Upper West Side, and got an amazing all-raw linguini dish (made from zucchini instead of pasta).
So, in conclusion, Holistic Health Coaches trained at IIN will be prepared to help people make life choices that are enjoyable, inspirational, and truly feed the soul. By spreading the information about whole, natural foods, we really can help to heal the world. I am thrilled to be on this journey and I can already feel that it is enriching my spirit. If you want to contact me about health coaching or more information on IIN, please do so.
I’ll end with a quote that Robert Notter gave us today:
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” -Rumi
Will keep you updated. XO